Nikon to invest $1.96 billion in medical, other growth areas

Reuters reports that Nikon will invest $1.96 billion in medical and other growth areas as camera sales tanked in the last 12 months:

"The camera and precision instrument maker also said it would assign 220 billion yen for research and development over three years including the current business year to March 2015. Of that, 50 billion yen will be directed to fields such as medical equipment."

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  • dps

    Pictures of my insides always look better than pictures of my outsides…

    • advising

      Expaniding in Medical imaging or whatever… just dont stop innovation or raise prices on DSLR

  • Jed

    Say WHAAAT ??

  • Dweeb

    The goes the budget for a 300 f4 VR.

    • Nexus

      Skip that colonoscopy and spend the cash on the 300 ƒ4 VR !

      • Christopher-Kasey Breneman

        diy colonoscopy with a 300 f4

        • Dr. Seuss

          ‘s OK, just get one.

  • broxibear

    “Kazuo Ushida,

    currently the senior executive vice president, said the
    Tokyo-based camera maker plans to spend about $2 billion for mergers and
    acquisitions in the medical and instruments businesses over the next
    three years.”
    “Mr. Ushida, who will take over as CEO pending approval at an annual
    shareholders meeting later this month, said Nikon will hire M&A
    experts to compile a list of targets and to handle due diligence and
    postmerger integration. It also will allocate nearly a quarter of its
    $2.2 billion in planned research-and-development spending for the
    medical business and new areas.”
    ” The transition comes as Nikon grapples with falling sales of its compact
    digital cameras and digital single-lens reflex, or DSLR, cameras as
    consumers opt to snap photos on their smartphones”

    • So, what’s your point?

      • broxibear

        My point is that here’s an article that goes into far more detail than the one Peter posted…what exactly is your point beyond being a complete arsehole ? (sorry for the abusive language Peter but some people deserve it)

        • Wow, take a pill, dude. I asked you what the point was because I didn’t see it. Sorry to be such an inconvenience to you. Go have an ice cream or something, you might feel better.

          • noise detector

            its information that you cannot comprehend.
            so, get into the slow brain lane, and read it twice

            • Put a little fudge on broxibear’s sundae that I invited him to enjoy and give it a lick, I guess. Sorry you all are so sensitive.

        • I did not link to the WSJ article because it required a subscription. Thanks broxibear for the quote.

          • broxibear

            Hey Peter,
            If you go to Google news, enter “Nikon” in the search and click on the
            “Wall Street Journal 17 Jun 2014” link you can get access to the article without subscription.

            • Thanks – nice trick, I will use it next time.

        • Global

          I think he was blase’ because the assumption is that as someone who read deeper into the details, you might be able to offer an opinion along with the snippet — as in, “So, whats your interpretation(as one who researched the issue further than others)?”

          Its hard to tell because society is so cheeky/sarcastic these days. But not everything online is automatically a put down; much of it is just less clear than it could be (he could have likewise interpretted you as to be putting down Nikon, suggesting they should get out of the camera business — but no need to assume).

        • Robert

          No offense intended, but wasn’t that “complete a..h…” statement a bit of an overreaction? If I remember correctly around 7-10% of the information a person can transfer comes through via text, around 35% via your voice (tonal changes etc.) and around 55% is body language. This is why it is so easy to misunderstand each other and so hard to get information through in written form. Believe me, I know that from experience. 😉

          • awarding

            you deserve a D400

        • Jock Wallace

          He’s probably a Timigrant

        • How about next time giving everyone a clue like, …here’s an excerpt from an article in the WSJ that offers some additional information, rather than cutting and pasting some random quotes (you start with “…Kazuo Ushida, currently the senior executive vice president, said the blah, blah, blah”. Sr Exec VP of what/who?) then directing everyone to a source that can only be accessed by subscribers. Who’s the “arsewhole”?

          • saying

            Only one person needed a clue to read what is written. That person is you. Reading-comprehension is a basic skill?

  • Well, you gotta do what you gotta do. I’m glad they have the sense to expand into markets where their expertise can be put to use and helps maintain the kind of revenue stream they need to remain viable. Kodak sure didn’t. This is good news for us Nikon camera users.

    • Random

      Actually, Kodak tried: they just bet wrong (e.g. on printers and printer papers)

      • They did and yeah, big time failure. The bigger failure for them was not diversifying earlier in their history. They had some pretty incredible optical technology (they were the backup contractor to Perkin-Elmer for the Hubble Space Telescope mirror, for instance. Too bad that wasn’t the piece that went into space as that mirror was perfect). And they actually built the first CCDs and other sensors for space and astronomical research. Of course chemicals, too. But, little of that had broad industrial application.

    • Mr_Miyagi

      I doubt that. Once again, Nikon is copying the competition. I believe Olympus is already very strong in the medical market, depends on it to keep the company afloat, and will make every effort to defend its market dominance. To break into a market that offers strong competition, Nikon will have to spend a lot of money to gear up to meet Olympus head on, but its efforts may not generate a large revenue stream unless the market is expanding rapidly. If there is not enough space for both companies, this move doesn’t bode well for Nikon.

      • Actually, Nikon has technology that Olympus has never even been close to. Olympus does make inspection and metrology apparatus, but not to the level as Nikon. Nikon also has semiconductor/photolithography equipment that employs a lot of technology that could find application in the medical field. You’re right, Olympus has an established presence there, but that’s why Nikon is planning to buy their way in rather than try to do it from the ground up. They’ll probably have some wins and losses along the way, but they have a shot at growth in that business.

        • Mr_Miyagi

          Thom Hogan posted his views on the Nikon announcement on his blog today, including the following comment which echoes my earlier post:

          “The problem with Nikon’s plan to expand into medical for growth is that other Japanese giants have already set the same target: Hitachi, Sony, and Toshiba to name just three. Others are already there: Fujifilm and Olympus, for example. The risk is that it’ll cost Nikon more money to enter into this new game, and even then they are likely to be a small player, not a dominant one.”

          Read the whole thing…

      • Bokeh Monk

        In fact, Nikon has been in the medical & scientific imaging fields for a few decades now!

    • Bokeh Monk

      In fact, Nikon has been in the medical & scientific imagining fields for a few decades now!

    • Neopulse

      I’m sure Kodak has had stakes in x-ray film for many years now at the international level. They have been involved in the medical field believe it or not.

      • My point is that, at this point in time, Kodak has a market capitalization about 1/6 that of Nikon. Fifteen years ago that was probably the other way round.

        • Neopulse

          Hmm maybe, yeah true most likely….

  • Spy Black

    Yeah, I dunno…

  • Global

    This is good. Nikon has made medical lenses before. And anything that expands their glass business for competitive professional (NASA, medical,military, precision, etc) use is sure to bring improvements later on in the photographic industry.

    • I agree. It’s an organic expansion; they’re not trying to graft a whole new business onto the an existing structure and they have tons of in-house expertise and a great reputation in making lenses. The only downside I can see is that a new venture like this is sure to suck up a lot of senior management time and company resources and that could hurt the camera business in the short term if they’re not careful.

  • Anything to keep the company going. I would hate to see them put all their eggs in one basket.

  • MB

    Hm … maybe they should have invested half a billion in Aptina …

    • KnightPhoto

      And spent the other part buying Nik software ;-(

      • MB

        That would be too much of a good thing 🙂
        I think Nikon could make a very good deal with Google because Google is mostly interested in Snapseed and not so much in Nik Photo suite so the price may be less than Aptina …

  • Mardock

    The danger here is that this could be a race to the bottom. Olympus has a much stronger presence here than Nikon (number 1 or 2 manufacturer of endoscopes in the world, for example).

    More concerning is that one of the chief reasons Sony bought a 10% stake in Olympus was to gain access to their medical wing … and now we have Sony Olympus Medical Solutions (

    Can Nikon really compete with a Sony-Olympus juggernaut? They’ll be entering a tough, competitive field (though with 7 billion of us and counting, admittedly a growing market area).

    The real takeaway I get from this is that Nikon is implicitly admitting that camera sales are flagging, that know they’re on the ropes here, and that they need to do something … quickly.

    • PGi

      Nikon stock hits really hard today after this report in Japan last evening.

      • guest

        How many companies have died because of idiot analyst’s totally fabricated calls? (And don’t forget, Rothschild said you should buy when there’s blood in the streets. You can get Nikon stock cheap long before you’ll get a D400 at any price.)

        • KnightPhoto

          Haha. I’ve toyed with buying Nikon low.

          Whou woulda thunk a company that brings the best two cameras on the market (D4 and D800) would then have their stock price go in the tank within about 12 months of that time. I realize there is a lot of negative talk hereabouts at NR, but Nikon makes some good SH!t. I’ve been a Nikon guy for far too long, no thoughts on leaving even though I do have my beefs too (I’d like to program every button and let me choose every function). For example I’ve never in my life used Qual and I really couldn’t give a darn about the AF-ON button, but that’s just me. And Jeez give me U1-U6 buttons for Crikey’s sake.

          Anyhow I’d hate to bet against the stock market so I won’t be buying stock, but I will be buying further Nikon equipment as mostly it gets out of my way.

    • They may be competing with Fuji as well – their imaging division is a small part of their company. They have a good presence in the medical field (X-Ray imaging, diagnostics, films, scanners, etc.).

    • ageha

      Sony had already medical solutions before they invested into Olympus.

  • Horshack

    My doctor diagnosed me with oily liver disease. But then he called me back 10 minutes later and said he needs to redo the test because the oil was in the camera and not on my liver.

    • photoroto

      My doctor told me my left kidney was softening. Then he called me back 10 minutes later…

  • doge

    Nano photography is the next big thing. Nikon is making a move to invest/develop in this emerging market.

    • not bombastic

      you had to use the word “nano”…

      • doge

        What’s your point?

  • That other nikon guy

    I have a question: Are Canon the only ones not struggling in the DSLR side of their company?

  • photoroto

    Does this mean the D810 will be The Last Great DSLR From Nikon?

  • julianliues

    this makes me want to switch to canon. I am afraid Nikon will reduce it’s research money in camera and gradually fail to produce good camera and lens

    • Neopulse

      Why would stocks make you want to switch to Canon? Makes no sense. Especially when Canon even invests in printers, scanners, camcorders, etc for f*cks sakes and Nikon is invested more in their cameras/lenses and their own proprietary software than anything else at the moment. So by that logic you’re contradicting yourself.

      • julianliues

        if they can keep good research and keep improving their product, then I would be happy to stick to Nikon. We will see. I am just recently plan to commit to Nikon Full frame so Nikon’s future on their camera products is important to me.

        • Reitou

          Nikon is fine. They are not going to spend less time on there camera R&D. They are simply expanding into other areas as well.

          It’s beyond my comprehension why people assume that Nikon will drop there camera business because of falling sales. All products reach a saturation point but they are still very much needed. They once made most of there income from DSLRs and as the market moves from that to Morrorless and smart phones are used more there will be less need for a DSLR for that type of user. However there will always be a need for a DSLR or at the very least a Mirrorless. Either way your Nikon glass will work with both.

          • julianliues

            Have you heard about the Fake Chuck blog that pushed Canon? I do not know whether the blog actually make Canon better. But I sure hope Nikon can listen to our consumers more to make the cameras and lens better.

            • DeeEff

              I just hope Nikon arent reading the bshit here though, then we are all screwed.

    • DeeEff.

      the most obvious troll post this year, you must be so proud, Cannon ploughs more R&D money into making their inkjets use more of their ‘proprietory’ ink than into their cameras…

  • PhilK

    I think it’s really funny how people act as if Nikon has no idea about
    the medical imaging industry. They’ve been building products for that
    market for years. In fact, they’ve been sponsoring an annual
    Nikon-branded photography competition specifically for microphotography for years now.

    Personally I don’t think the investment in this
    area is necessarily moving resources away from DSLRs, but more likely moving resources formerly devoted to their high-end immersion
    lithography scanners used in the production of silicon chip masks.

    As of a few years ago, Nikon was one of the very very few companies
    operating at the top of that industry (probably 3-4 max), making devices often called “the highest precision equipment ever made by man”.

    They still make this equipment, but their marketshare at the very high-end has fallen as a Scandinavian company that outsources much of the components of their product has taken the lion’s share of the business in the super high-end segment of that industry in recent few years.

    Building products like that entails _extremely_ high R&D costs, and you don’t sell too many of them, and now with this Scandinavian company cutting costs by outsourcing a lot of their product components, Nikon is probably no longer willing to spend massive amounts of R&D capital on something which, while a prestige product, could end up selling very few. It’s also very sensitive to cyclical chip industry trends. And it’s not helping them on the PR front because I’ll bet the majority of people that read a “Nikon fan blog” like this don’t even know what that product of theirs is or that they made them at all.

    In case anyone is curious:

    • Wow, some very nice information there 🙂

    • whisky

      i believe there was more to it than that. i recall Thom writing an article which discussed how Nikon lost the market to an upstart mostly due to their poor customer service and uncompetitive pricing. it was Nikon’s market to lose. i can’t find the article, but if he’s here reading this perhaps he can fill in the details.

  • Sara Fernadiz

    It is great that Nikon has invested $1.96 billion in health industry to boost up the medical sector. Medical sector is a particular sector where there is need to be given emphasized because most of the people depend upon this sector. However, this sector is lagging behind in comparison to other sector. It need to be grown.

  • This move is quite puzzling. They are trying to buy themselves into a business with well established players. Ironically, one of those players is Fuji, a company that started to get back into the camera business 3 years ago.

    So we have Nikon with 75% of their revenue coming from their imaging business (optics and cameras) moving into a market with well established players, and more (for example, SONY) announcing the same move at the same time. And we have Fuji with a big presence in the medical field moving into camera business.

    Fuji is well on its way of getting its imaging division to a break even point (perhaps even as soon as next year). Quite an achievement after being in the business for only 3 years (starting from scratch). Of course, their optical expertise (ranging from broadcast/cine lenses to satellite imaging) helps a great deal. And Nikon? According to the article (and Thom Hogan’s excellent article) they’re still looking for experts to identify potential acquisition targets.

    What are you doing Nikon?

    • NoMeJodas

      Yes the X system is only < 3 years old but keep in mind that Fujifilm has been in the business of making cameras since 1988.

      • guest

        And Nikon has been an optical company since about 1899.

    • whisky

      fujifilm entered the M42 mount SLR market, then changed over to a proprietary mount. quit the SLR market, then built the X-Pan system for Hasselblad and a Fuji equivalent — quit. then sold DSLRs with a nikon mount — quit. now they have another proprietary mount — which they’ll build upon until they decide to … quit.

      fujifilm has a long track record of when the going gets tough — they quit. OTOH, when they do build cameras, they’re typically top notch.

    • photoroto

      Nikon is simply serving its traditional clientele. All of us who saved up to buy Nikon F’s in 1962 are now lining up at the emergency room door. Darned considerate of them, IMHO.

  • Jorge

    Scary. What if their equipment has oil on the sensor, or a focus issue and it’s determined you’ll need surgery?
    (Tongue – in – cheek humor)

  • mike brunette

    Calling Kodak!

  • neversink

    Not such a bad idea. They already offer microscopes, and some other equipment. Perhaps this is a good idea…. Who knows? But I want Nikon to survive and succeed…

  • neversink

    Not such a bad idea. They already offer microscopes, and some other equipment. Perhaps this is a good idea…. Who knows? But I want Nikon to survive and succeed…

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